Urine marking in the home by a dog can happen for a variety of reasons. One way that dogs communicate is through their urine, so they can mark for territorial reasons, as a response to stress or anxiety, or because of hormonal influences in intact males. We see this behavior most often when a dog enters a new environment, a new dog enters the home or there is a big life change in the home.
Causes of urine marking in dogs
Dogs may feel threatened and consequently feel the need to mark their territory because:
- A new pet moves into your home.
- A new human baby comes home.
- A new adult starts spending time at your house.
- You move to a new place that may or may not have smells from other dogs.
Stop dog urine marking
The best way to prevent urine marking from unaltered dogs is to spay or neuter them, especially before they mature. If the dog is an adult and the behavior is already well established, then neutering may not help. If your dog does urine-mark in your home, it’s important to neutralize the spot with an enzymatic cleaner to completely get rid of the odor. Otherwise, the smell is an invitation to the dog to mark the same spot again. The enzymes in the cleaner (Nature’s Miracle and Simple Solution are two brands) digest the odor-causing protein in organic materials.
If you aren’t sure your new dog will mark when you bring him home, keep him on leash and supervised at first. That way, if you see any signs of marking, you can move him away from the object and get him outside. If you need to leave your dog at home unsupervised, make sure he is crated or in an enclosed place where you know he won’t mark. If the dog has a history of marking, continue this practice when you get new furniture or other upright items in your home, to prevent marking from happening again.
If your neutered dog is still marking after you have tried the above suggestions, reach out to your vet to ensure that there isn’t a medical component. If there’s no medical problem, the dog could be marking because of underlying anxiety. In that case, seek out a trainer or a veterinary behaviorist.